Storms wreck churches, clergy salaries

Over 900 churches affected
More than 900 houses of worship on the Gulf Coast have been destroyed, seriously damaged or forced to suspend services by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, leaving many clergy without salaries.

Interviews with more than a dozen faith leaders by Religion News Service indicate that hundreds more congregations had at least minimal damage.

And that was before careful tallies were made after Hurricane Wilma swept through southern Florida October 24. At least two Baptist churches reportedly were destroyed in Florida and 21 others damaged, according to an initial report by Associated Baptist Press. Wilma was blamed for ten deaths in Florida, while total damage to property was estimated to exceed $10 billion.

“One reality of these storms that is different from other recent hurricanes is that many of our churches will not be meeting for several months,” wrote Robert H. Bohl and Rick Ufford-Chase of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in a fund-raising letter.


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